Those tasked with ensuring South Africa’s military veterans are in a good space have a long way to go if the latest Department of Military Veterans (DMV) performance statistics are taken into account.
The second “arm” of Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s Cabinet responsibilities is currently under the leadership of an acting director general. Retired three-star general Derrick Mgwebi moved into the hot seat two years ago, replacing Max Ozinksy, whose appointment was also temporary in that he was acting in the position.
In his presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans earlier this week, Mgwebi points out first quarter spending of a budget reduced to R546 million by the DMV was just over eight percent of targeted spend. This saw R44 million spread between compensation of employees (R31.3 million), goods and services (R6.7 million), transfers and subsidies (R6.4 million) and “only R127 000” on capital expenditure.
The DMV is structured with three legs – administration, socio-economic support and empowerment/stakeholder management.
Socio-economic support is the leg of DMV activities of most interest – and concern – to the country’s military veterans. Its responsibilities include the national veterans’ database and the provision of housing, compensation, bursaries and healthcare. Here, according to the presentation, not one of three targets set was achieved.
In the empowerment/stakeholder management portfolio of operations, performance was somewhat better with one of four set targets met. Top of its list of activities is providing military veterans with access to business facilitation programmes, followed by providing employment opportunities for retired and non-serving soldiers. The number three slot goes to erecting military veterans memorial sites, with none planned for the period under review.